Camping, Hiking & Kayaking Adventures at Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin

Governor Dodge State Park is a park we’ve been trying to camp at for a couple years now and it finally worked out! We had been up there in 2019 for our 3 year dating anniversary, but we did not camp since it was November, we stayed at a cute bed and breakfast nearby called Commerce Street Brewery & Hotel, which was built in 1854.

We enjoyed the hiking there so much, we had made reservations the following year to camp, but then COVID came and all State Parks had shut down. Then the following year we had made reservations again, but had too much going on and had to cancel.

We were very excited to finally get back there. We had Thursday – Saturday booked, then decided to go a day early. However, when we went online to book that extra day, the site we had reserved was not available (however if this happens to you, we suggest calling the park directly, since when we drove by that site the day that it said it was not available, it was wide open).

So we came up with a different plan, and stayed at Commerce Street Brewery Hotel again. This was right around our 1 year wedding anniversary, so staying at this great little bed and breakfast for the night was perfect! It’s located in a really cute town called Mineral Point. If you are not a camper but want to explore Governor Dodge State Park, we highly recommend staying at this place. 


On our way up before we stayed at Commerce Street, we decided to get a quick hike in at Governor Dodge State Park. It was a very warm day, 92 degrees, with a real feel of 100…. so we intended to hike just a little over a mile. 

Well… we took a wrong turn and ended up hiking over 3 miles. This trail was a loop trail by the waterfall (there is a short loop, or if you take the wrong turn, it’s a longer loop – Lost Canyon Trail, how appropriate).  

It was a bit of a struggle with the heat and lack of water, but it was just another adventure to us. At the beginning of the trail, you go down and see the waterfall first thing. At the end of our hike, we were so warm, we decided to go back down to the waterfall to cool off. Oh that sure felt good! 


After our stay at Commerce Street, before we set up camp, we went for a kayak and a hike. We kayaked Cox Hollow Lake from the boat launch over to an area by Pine Cliff Trail, and were able to pull our kayaks to shore and go for a little hike. It was perfect! 


After our kayaking and hiking adventure, we set up camp. We stayed on site 323 in the Twin Valley Campground, which was not our first pick but that’s what was available.  It was a nice site, we would have preferred it to be a little more wooded but we enjoyed it. 311, 312 and 315 looked like really nice sites. 

The rest of our stay included a 9 mile bike ride on our Pedego electric bikes, then a hike to the cave (which was closed), and another paddle – this time on Twin Valley Lake.

Overall it was a really great trip, despite the very warm temps. Definitely a park we plan to visit on a regular basis, since it’s only a few hours from home, and we’re able to do all of our favorite things: camp, hike, bike and kayak. 

Make sure you check out our YouTube video to see more about this trip! If you have any questions or comments, let us know!